As the Adventurers topped the Glass mountains they could see Katapesh in the valley below. It had been a long and harrowing journey here from Kalamar. Yet something Nagged at them telling them the city may hold something worse for them. Still the Obian Ocean in the background and the setting suns reflections gave a sense of excitement as they began the final descent into the valley.
The stench of dog city raised up as they heard the yipping language of the gnolls all around them. Ogwa had convinced them it would be much safer to enter the city this morning. The small group was sure they had made the right choice as they passed thru the outer warren and came to the gates of the great city. They could see the Zephyer gauds ahead and felt much relief as the sounds and smells behind them diminished.
The first stop was the gilded shell a well-known armor and weapon shop they hoped to sell their hard earned treasures, to give themselves some coins to spend. As they entered the shop they could see the ½ elven owner Matheus arguing with a gnoll about some skins the creature was trying to sell him. The argument escalated until finally the gnoll stormed from the shop with his goods. As the gnoll passed Dearnthorn was nearly overcome by the wretched smell of the “flying lions” hide as the gnoll had called it.
Dearnthorn was in his element as he sat and had the water Matheus had offered him. They did manage to turn a good coin for the items they had brought but were caught unaware when he offered 2000 gold for a shield that had been deemed minimal by the group. They decided to take him up on his offer though as Dearnthorn began to cast magic within the shop and caused concern with the shop owner. Matheus told them the best place to sell the rest of the mundane material was at Barney’s 5 & dime. He also gave them a good lead to a shop for their non-magic Items a place called Azules.
As they left the place feeling a good bit wealthier, Script in hand they decided to head to Barneys. Along the way they stumbled upon a pack of gnolls scooping up a young lady from the street. Ogwa’s blood ran cold at such a site, “let her go dog face” he yelled. From the other side help came in an the unlikely form of a Young Halfling. Onnoc, grabbing a haunch of meat from the nearby stand and tossed a few coins to cover the cost at the hiding patron he began whistling at the gnoll and yelling “come on come on fetch.” Dearnthorn hoping to avoid a confrontational battle in the streets rolled between the legs of the largest beast. Yelling at the dogs to unhand the young lady they told him to buzz off and tried to slap him aside.
The leader a particularly scrounge looking hound told them “ begone the women is ours and we are collecting a debt” blinded by his hatred of the creatures he sprang to the attack with speed and finesse the leader found himself lying on the ground Diors helmet found her helmet in the belly of another knocking the air from his lungs. Onnoc Threw the meat passed the gnolls and for a split second it looked as if they may chased but their senses (and fear of the leader) prevailed. Pressing their abduction of the girl a gnoll grabbed the young kicking and screaming girl up and tried to run. As he turned he saw the quick spin and another Kick from Ogwa bring his remaining companion to the ground.
“Enough” yelled Dearnthorn “put the girl down and leave” with a signal from the scrounge Gnoll the girl was released. Getting up the gnolls began to leave the leader looked at the others and told them “This is not over you will answer to the law, we have a right to the girl as a payment of debt. We will see you in the court. Dearnthorn sensing no good would come from this asked the girl if it was true while the gnolls walked away she confirmed their story telling them her father owed someone 500 gold and she was to work off the debt. Dearnthorn yelled after the gnolls, stopping the leader turned and waited for the Halfling to approach he offered them the 500 gold to pay off the debt. The gnoll argued the price had gone up since they had to fight and told him 600 gold. Reluctantly he paid the gold ( a move he would regret latter because of the dwarves continual whining of it about a waste and the gold would have been better use to purchase a returning Axe she had seen earlier at Mathius’ shop)
Dearnthorn thank Onnoc for his assistance in battle, he had noticed the symbol of Calistrila around his neck and asked of his skills. Impressed with his action in their recent spat with the gnolls he asked if he would like to accompany them in their journey. Onnoc agreed and joined the group as they walked the girl to her family’s house.
Once there they meet and elderly gentlemen her father named Ahmad. He related the story of how he had become so far in debt and explained that he had been tricked. He was hired along with several others to find an rough egg shaped item about 2 feet in length scalloped and leathery feeling. 50 gp was paid in advance to help find the item. He found it noting that sometimes things are hidden right beneath your nose. It had been a curium near the docks that sold shells. Once he retrieved it from the shop though it was stolen from him as he tried to deliver it. Since then the debt has increased 10 gold a week until reaching the current 500 gold and they decided to take his daughter as payment.
The group decided to look into this problem as they let Garavel reminded them they were meeting with Rayhan about the scroll that had caused them so much trouble. Since it was so late in the evening they decided they should go to his villa before the sun had set and continued their journey to his house.
The Villa was a beautiful place the walls where made of sandstone and stood ten feet tall surrounding the house. The back of the ground sat on a cliff 50 feet up from the Obian Ocean the house itself was a modest building three stories high and also made of sandstone.
A gruff voice met them at the gate asking their business Garavel answered it is I Garavel and some adventurers sent here by Ahlma.” The mention of merchant princess’ Ahlma soften the tone of the unseen voice and the gate opened. A tall balding gentle man dressed in white robes greeted them “Garavel it is good to see you, and how is Ahlma? “ without waiting for a response he continued “ Come in, come in dinner is ready and I was just sitting down to eat.”
As he crossed the yard he introduced himself as Rayhan and told the group a bit about himself and the villa. Of course they would be his guests for the evening but beware of the cat stop if you run into her and call out for myself or gardener. Onnoc asked what kind of cat it was the group was surprised to find that a tiger wandered the ground freely.
After dinner, a simple affair consisting of strictly vegetable and fruit, they relayed the story of their adventure leading up to the scroll in their possessions. Rayhan asked them what each knew of the scroll and what they noticed when they saw it. Upon completing this he picked up the item and began to tell them what he believed they had found.
“It would appear that I was a bit hasty in my initial disbelief. This
scroll is highly intriguing. I’ve studied the legend of Kakishon for
years, and in that time I’ve seen countless shams and forgeries and
dead ends. But this scroll… this could be the real thing.
“The legends say that Kakishon was created by the
wizard-king Nex to serve him as a portable paradise and an
impenetrable bolt-hole. Much as the more commonplace bag
of holding opens into its own reality, the Scroll of Kakishon was
said to contain this entire world inside of it—the scroll was
not Kakishon, but the doorway by which Nex could enter and
exit the realm. Kakishon was said to have been a paradise,
a laboratory, a menagerie, a hunting ground, and even a
tomb—most likely, it was all these things and more, with each
island serving a different role.
“The legend of Kakishon falls into increasing obscurity
after Nex’s war with Geb began. All signs point to the strong
possibility that Nex had grown dissatisfied with Kakishon
and had lost interest. When he vanished from the face
of Garund in 576 ar, he left the Scroll of Kakishon behind.
Eventually, it was stolen from his castle and the scroll passed
through many hands. Some used it as a prison for their
enemies, others as a place to impress allies or as a vault for
their treasures, the stories say. The closer to the present
day we get, the more obscure the rumors grow—no sign of
the Scroll of Kakishon seems to have surfaced over the past
several hundred years.
“The last person to own the scroll, I believe, was a Keleshite
wizard named Andrathi. The accounts of his life are vague and
fragmentary, but it would appear that he was the lover of a genie
named Nefeshti, the leader of a group known as the Templars
of the Five Winds. Legend holds that the Templars fought
somewhere in the mountains against a cruel efreeti warlord
named Jhavhul, and that while the Templars of the Five Winds
managed to capture Jhavhul inside of Kakishon, the defeat was
shadowed in loss. No sign of Andrathi or the Scroll of Kakishon
remained after the battle. No sign… until today.
“This is an important find. If you will let me, I would very
much like to look into this matter, to research this scroll and
decipher some of the writings upon it. And if this is indeed
the Scroll of Kakishon, there are protections placed upon it to
prevent undesirables from being able to open it and travel to
the world within. Yet in time, I feel that I will be able to decipher
these writings. You see, before he vanished, the wizard Andrathi
went through the same process—yet he obviously managed to
discover the way to open the scroll, even if it meant his doom.
Some of his writings have survived to this day, and as it happens,
I own copies of these writings. By building upon the foundation
he lays in his writings, I am sure that I will be able to duplicate his
research and refine it. It may take days, even weeks, but if this is
indeed the Scroll of Kakishon, I will find the key to open it.
“But once it is open, I will need your aid, should you be willing
to provide it. The legends speak of great treasures kept safe in
Kakishon, the greatest of which was Jhavhul’s own weapon, the
legendary Firebleeder, said by some to be a falchion and others
a living flame. Sadly, my adventuring days are behind me, but if I
find the way, I would be honored to accompany you into Kakishon
to find the truth!”
After finishing the tale Rayhan asked if he could study the scroll more in his library. The party discussed it among themselves and agreed he feverishly worked the scroll copying all that was noted on it and then began the study in earnest. The party decided to stay and watch over the Scholar as he studied. Onnoc From fear of what the Wizard might be up to Ogwa because it needed protection Dearnthorne wondering its value and Dior because she wanted that Axe! The days drifted by as the group began to realize it would be more then a few days they decided to investigate the story the young girl had told them.
Thru Onnoc’s connections with the pathfinders and Dearnthornes return visit to Ahmad who had sold the goods the group had left with him for a substantial amount. Ahmad gave more information on the egg that had been stolen from him. After they returned to the villa they decided to pursue the egg. On the morning they where to begin Onnoc and Dior went down to the Cliffside Inn to get breakfast t when a young merchant stopped them and asked if she could meet with the group to make an offer for the scroll they possessed. The hairs on the back of Onnocs neck stood on end Thinking quickly and talking the speed of a Gnome he told the women he would be happy but she would have to be blind folded come alone remove all magic and and before she could finish the woman became worried and told him enough and quickly left afraid the Halfling had been partaking in Pesh!
After relaying the story top Ogwea and Dearnthorn the group decided to return to the inn and find out what she knew. A conversation ensued in the middle of the inn and many ears seemed to turn their attention to the group. The merchant had tried to get them to go to a more private booth but decided they did not care if others heard and talked of wanting to offer coins for an item but never mentioned it directly, after determining she new nothing more the group decided they would get back with her a little later to discuss a price. They decided to put the egg on hold for a bit and get the business with the scroll done first. That evening the Villa was attacked and as the group responded to the attacks downstairs and outside, Rayhan was kidnapped from the Library while getting his defensive spells ready to help the group.
The fight was brief the intruders had done their job causing a diversion while Rajhan was kidnapped. It cost them dearly though three had been killed and one captured. The city guards rarely seen was quick to arrive, A women named Kazim a Cleric of Abadar lead the group. The investigation quickly turned up a Ransom note Signed Father Jackel She got the group together and told them:
“Greetings. I apologize for my abrupt arrival, but there is a matter we must discuss. Know that I am here on both the authority of
the church and that of the Pactmasters—and I bring word of their displeasure. Both have been troubled recently by your arrival in our
city. They had hoped your claim was false, or that if it were true, you would conduct your business swiftly and be gone. The traffic
of powerful artifacts is welcome in Katapesh, but it also causes the worst of men’s natures to rise. What we have seen here tonight is
proof of that.
“While the city respects the value of an individual’s property, and theft violates the highest laws of the land, inciting riots and
disrupting trade is equally offensive to our codes, and you currently walk a fine line in that regard.
“Know that several parties have come to the Pactmasters and demanded that the city force you to relinquish control of the Scroll
of Kakishon to the highest bidder. Specifically, the One Source Merchants’ Guild is threatening a trade embargo if they are not
allowed the opportunity to bid for the map. Though you are the rightful owner and cannot be forced to sell, they therefore ask you
to choose a buyer within the next day or else leave the city. It is one thing to hold out on a trade for the best price, but another to hold
out so long that our merchants lose sight of their civility.
“You have but one other option. If you can find out who perpetrated this crime against you and the master of this house, and
if you can bring me proof that the situation has been resolved before the time limit elapses, both the church and the Pactmasters will be
appreciative of your efforts and turn deaf ears to the complaints of a few jealous merchants.”
And this is where the story ends until next tim!